Everest Balloon lifts off this year in search of open, rarified air, becoming the newest company to offer adventure tourism at extreme high-altitude. Everest Balloon will fly passengers to Earth’s apex elevation, 29,032 feet above sea level, then back down — all within a 100-minute period — simulating for passengers the awe-inspiring, transformative experience of reaching the iconic height of Mount Everest’s summit. This extreme high-altitude adventure will take off from Perry, Georgia, USA, over 8,000 miles from Everest Balloon’s namesake in the Himalayas.
“Everest Balloon offers an exhilarating and cost-efficient alternative to recent forays into high-altitude flight by Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin,” says Douglas A. Hase, company founder. “Everest Balloon uses an open-air gondola, providing passengers with incomparable, breath-taking 360-degree views and physical exposure to Earth’s elements.”
When Everest Balloon reaches its flight apogee of 29,032 feet, its passengers will experience the same layer of open air that Everest Mountaineers experience during high-altitude climbs on the other side of Earth. In contrast, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin’s passengers ride in a comfy enclosed capsule and passively gaze at Earth through compartment windows. Watch Everest Balloon trailer.
Everest Balloon passengers wear specialized oxygen masks and cold weather gear to provide relative comfort during the brief time spent at 29,032 feet when temperatures are negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the atmospheric pressure is one-third that of sea level. At the sunrise take-off, the temperature will be about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time the balloon ascends to 29,032 feet, ambient air temperatures will have dropped 100 degrees.
Passengers of Everest Balloon must be in excellent health and demonstrate they are fit to fly in extreme high-altitude, open-air conditions. Before being permitted to fly to 29,032 feet, passengers must complete a ‘proving flight’ to 18,000 or 23,000 feet to demonstrate that they are able to remain calm, aware and focused in the rarified air. Everest Balloon’s high-altitude flights will be limited to eight passengers plus pilots, far less than the massive balloon’s design capacity of 24 persons, allowing for a spacious ride. Everest Balloon is filled with 425,000 cubic feet of hot air making it the largest balloon currently flying in the United States.
Everest Balloon is the brainchild of Douglas Hase, a life-time adventurer and endurance athlete who has a penchant for extreme altitudes. Hase holds the distinction of a 2,500-foot record-setting bungee jump-cum-parachute from the top of a hot air balloon, as well as the first descent by a paraglider from the summit of Ecuador’s Stratovolcano Chimborazo, whose summit is the farthest point on earth from the Earth’s core. Hase also made first paragliding descents from Mexico’s four highest volcanos and 35 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Everest Balloon will be piloted by Mark Churchman, a Georgia native, who has over 30 years of balloon flight experience, and a crew comprised of Churchman’s three sons, Harrison, Elijah, and John Mark.